Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel began Monday’s media day by announcing suspended receiver Levi Copelin had been dismissed from the program.
When asked why, Pinkel said he does not “discuss personnel issues.”
In July, the NCAA suspended Copelin, a redshirt sophomore, for the season for use of an unapproved nutritional supplement. Copelin said he bought the supplement at a local store.
“Unfortunately, I used it without clearing it with my strength coaches or trainers,” Copelin said in a statement released by the University in July. “This was a stupid mistake on my part, and I’m very sorry that I put myself and my team in this situation.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver was a first-team all-state defensive back and receiver out of Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma. The 2011 Oklahoma Class 6A District 3 Offensive Player of the Year was redshirted his first year at Missouri.
In his redshirt freshman season, he had three catches for 61 yards. Most of those yards came on a 51-yard reception from quarterback James Franklin, which Copelin took in for a touchdown against Toledo.
He also blocked a punt and made four tackles on kickoff coverage.
Copelin likely would have contributed in 2014 as a member of the Missouri receiving corps because of the departures of such receiving stalwarts as Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham. He was on the depth chart behind co-captain Bud Sasser at the Y-receiver position.
However, he never played a snap because of the suspension. Freshman Wesley Leftwich has already caught two balls this year, and the team expects expanded roles from freshmen Lawrence Lee and Nate Brown.
“This is a very unfortunate situation, but one that Levi created for himself,” Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said in July. “He’s paying the price for this mistake, and I commend him for owning up to it and taking responsibility.
“Our strength coaches and trainers rely on our players to be careful of what they do on their own, and to always get approval from them first.
“We’re disappointed that Levi didn’t follow this guideline, but we will support him during this time, and have high expectations that he will handle all of his responsibilities in the classroom, in the community and on the field in a first-class manner.”
Copelin was arrested earlier this year for a misdemeanor peace disturbance at the campus student ID center in Columbia. He also was suspended for one game in 2012 after being arrested, along with teammates Green-Beckham and Torey Boozer, on suspicion of possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana.